Now I can share some news I’ve been keeping under my hat for a few months!

Dragonblade Publishing is about to start a new connected world series called Lyon’s Den.

The Lyon Sleeps Tonight by Elizabeth Ellen Carter. A story in the new Lyon's Den Connected World Series

The Lyon Sleeps Tonight by Elizabeth Ellen Carter. A story in the new Lyon’s Den Connected World Series

If you are not familiar with the concept of a connected world in literature, it is a series set in the same universe written by different authors. There maybe supporting characters in common, or a particular trope but the hero and heroine are original characters unique to that author.

Dragonblade has a three of these – Wolfebane, Pirates of Britannia and, now Lyon’s Den – and Kathryn Le Veque is very generous in letting other historical romance authors have a ‘play’.

I was delighted to take part in the Pirates of Britannia series with The de Wolfe of Wharf Street, which gave me the opportunity to introduce Gabriel Hardacre, an ancestor of Kit Hardacre from the Heart of the Corsairs series.

Now, I’m thrilled to be part of a launch of a new Regency-set series called Lyon’s Den. Here is the set up:

Rich women with either bad reputations themselves or daughters with bad reputations pay The Black Widow of Whitehall to find them wealthy husbands from her gambling den near Westminster.

The Black Widow of Whitehall is Mrs. Bessie Dove-Lyon and her gambling establishment is called the Lyon’s Den, a front for the rather ruthless matchmaking service. She takes an ‘order’ from a wealthy woman and then targets the men who come into her establishment, rating them on their viability. If they meet her standards, she will trap them into the marriage contracts by rigging the games they are playing.

The Lyon’s Den isn’t a usual gambling establishment – they bet on odd things, like drinking liquor that’s been mildly poisoned to see who passes out first, or feeding gluttons too much to see who will vomit first. There are traditional games, but it’s more known for it’s odd and sometimes ruthless games.

Because there are high stakes to be paid out, it lures some of London’s finest men. Mrs. Dove-Lyon serves the finest wines and alcohol, plus she always has the best food in London. Lots to attract high stakes gamblers and she knows it.

The women who pay her for her services pay through the nose – Mrs. Dove-Lyon owns country estates, more fine carriages than she can use, etc, etc, because she delivers the best husbands to the most disreputable brides. It’s not a secret, but men go willingly to the establishment, some of them actually looking for a wealthy bride as much as the disreputable women are looking for husbands.

Mrs. Dove-Lyon comes from a very old family, but it was her husband’s family who built the house that is home to the Lyon’s Den. Located on the west end of London on Cleveland Row, the home was once known as Lyon’s Gate Manor and is distinctively painted blue. Mrs. Dove herself was a woman of questionable repute, rumored to be a courtesan, but she married Colonel Sandstrom T. Lyons, a much older man from a highly respected family. When Colonel Lyons died only a few years into their marriage, Bessie came to see that there was no real money left, only a mountain of debt hidden behind a good family name. Since the house belonged to her, she decided to do what she knew best – and turned it into the most lucrative gambling dens in London. By the time our stories are set, The Lyon’s Den has been in existence for about twenty-five years.

And check out the other great authors who will also have stories in this universe – Jade Lee, Chasity Bowlin, Mary Lancaster, Alex Aston, Maggi Andersen, Hildie McQueen, Whitney Blake… and there will be more announced as the series continue.

My story, out in July, is called The Lyon Sleeps Tonight. Isn’t the cover gorgeous?

And here’s the story blurb:

Love is just a whim away…

Opal Jones and Peter Ravenshaw are childhood friends growing up in India, away from the structured mores of English society.

But all good things must come to an end. The friends are sent to England and go their separate ways.

Years pass but not Opal’s love for Peter.

Peter has returned from India as a Captain but for some reason has become politely aloof to his old friend. Opal is determined to get her man but she will need the help of Lady Dove-Lyon, the most notorious matchmaker in London.

The Lyon’s Den will host a most unusual game: He who can stay awake the longest, wins the hand of the fair Miss Opal Jones.

Peter is horrified that his beautiful, headstrong friend would give herself away on a game of chance and steps up to play for her honour, not realising that Opal already holds all the cards.

Check back here over the next few months for release dates and info about the other great titles in the series.